Chicken Coop Fire Inside Hamilton County Line Renews Fire Hydrant Concerns
HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WDEF) – An attempt to keep outdoor animals warm caused a devastating fire early Monday morning at the 1900 block of Suck Creek Road. “It appears it may have started in a chicken coop with a heating lamp but there is still an investigation ongoing,” says Chattanooga Fire Department Fire Marshal William Matlock. Officials say noone was hurt in the fire, but the home is a total loss.
The 911 call came in at 6 am. The home sits just inside the Hamilton County line, but Chattanooga Fire Department provided the bulk of the fire fighting service. Officials say dispatch sends the closest agency to respond to an emergency. When the fire department got there, firefighters ran into a serious problem. The closest fire hydrant was 2 miles away and the home sits atop on a steep hill. “We dropped hoses in the water, in the river, and used our pumps to pump water from the river to the fire scene. It’s kind of a labor intensive ordeal, a logistical problem. It takes a lot of fire hose, a lot of fire trucks and a lot of people to be able to pull that kind of event off,” says Chattanooga Fire Department Chief Phil Hyman. In fact, a fire department press release says they used two thousand feet of hose. Officials with the county explain the fire hydrants are the responsibility of the utilities corporation in these communities. But the codes of where hydrants should be placed rests with the fire marshal. New Hamilton County code requires a fire hydrant every 500 feet but in rural parts of the county, this code is impossible to enforce. “There’s 576 square miles here in Hamilton County so it’s obviously extremely difficult to do that and extremely expensive,” says Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger. The fire department said every department has tanker trucks that can carry large amounts of water to a rural or highway fire. Every department also has water pump trucks to access water from a river. The fire department also says they do not encourage the use of heating appliances like space heaters and heating lamps but if you do use one, do not go to sleep with it on and keep all objects atleast three feet away from it.